Federer focussing on French Open
Frank Monkhouse | 12 April 2017
In form star resting up before Roland Garros
With the French Open fast-approaching, Swiss star Roger Federer told the press that he intends to take a break to focus on the sport’s most physically demanding tournament, a move aimed at giving himself the best chance of winning a second title.
Doesn’t he just deserve it too? The 35-year-old has had a sensational 2017 already, upsetting the odds, and opinions of experts, to win the Australian Open, claiming his fifth title in that sphere, and first since 2010. With Djokivic and Murray both out of the way, tennis fans were treated to a blast from the past – and it would appear a sign of things to come – when Federer downed old rival Rafa Nadal in the final. A five-set thriller. Do these two do it any other way in Grand Slams? We saw the returning king crowned thanks to a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 score.
Federer available at a big price in Paris
A fluke, achieved against a weakened field? Don’t believe it for a second! Federer proved he was in fact back in business by stamping that form when winning in Indian Wells and, most recently, the Miami Open. This time Djok and Muzza were out injured, Federer again took advantage, and again pulled rank over Nadal in the final. In what was rather more convincing circumstances than Melbourne, the victory was claimed with a 6-3, 6-4 tally. But it was no less of a battle, with 10 break points shared in the opening set alone. Three titles already in the bag, no wonder he’s keen on a rest.
Judging by his form this year, who could write Fed-Ex off to win the French Open with any real confidence? Well Coral traders fancy a pop at it, and think the surface will be his undoing. Punters looking to keep faith with Federer will find an attractive 10/1 on him in the outright betting.
Nadal favourite for 10
A more likely winner is Mr Clay tennis himself, Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard may have gotten into a bad habit of finishing as runner-up in recent outings, but this is his competition, and odds compilers believe he was merely warming up to prove it.
With no less than nine French Open titles already in the bag, Coral reckon the 30-year-old will move into double-figures in the summer. Rafa has been plagued by injury in recent years, with no lack of sports journalists suggesting his best days are firmly behind him. He hasn’t won this honour since 2014, but recent efforts would suggest, although not winning, he is nearing a return to peak fitness. Claiming back his favourite trophy would be just the way to prove it.
Nadal can be found at the head of the betting at present, with Coral marking up a reasonable 2/1. If we judge this one on past performances alone, that’s a great price, if we take into consideration recent form, that’s a great price. All in all, it deserves serious consideration.
Forgotten men can’t be written off
So, what about the forgotten pair of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Could a slow start to the year suggest their days at the top are numbered? Of course not! Scotsman Murray has never won this title, a beaten finalist last year being his best effort on record, but that has been factored in to the price, and he’s currently 7/2 third-favourite.
Djok arrives as defending champion, having beaten Murray in four-sets last year to pick up his maiden gong. That will hold plenty of weight with punters, especially casual fans of the sport, in the run up to Wimbledon. What makes a bet on two-in-a-row all the more appealing is the 11/4 currently available. That’ll be difficult to ignore.